As we age, we lose the sense of thirst. By the age of 50, our bodies may lose kidney function, which makes it difficult to conserve fluids. Our skin exhibits signs of wrinkling and sagging when our body is deprived of water. However, this is more apparent in younger people than our older loved ones, making it harder to identify dehydration earlier on. As a result, Vancouver seniors are more susceptible to dehydration, especially during the summer where the weather is heating up and we’re bound to excrete more water. There are various ways to care for seniors to ensure that they retain enough water for the day but here are a few things to keep in mind to reduce the risk of dehydration:
What are the signs?
While there aren’t a lot of obvious visual cues to help us recognize when our loved ones should rehydrate, we can understand a few behavioural changes that could indicate symptoms of dehydration.
- Display of confusion, agitation, or grouchiness
- Heavier breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
Who are More Susceptible and Why?
While ageing is a great factor that makes one vulnerable to hydration, those who are diabetic, and/or those who are under medication for chronic illnesses may need to be more attentive of how often they should hydrate. This is especially true when medication is a diuretic, which makes individuals increase excretion of water from the body, including sweat and urine. In addition, individuals who experience other symptoms such as vomiting, and diarrhea will need to be more vigilant to drink more water.
How to Retain Water
It’s become an old wives’ tale to drink 8 glasses of water to be truly hydrated. However, we’ve come to know that the amount of water that one should drink is dependent on our body size and weight. While we may not be able to provide exact measurements of how much water each individual should drink in a day, we should also note that there are other ways to obtain water as well. We tend to forget that the water in the fruits and vegetables we eat contributes to our daily water intake. And so, to optimize health and to prevent dehydration, seniors should include more water-based foods. This includes:
- Skim Milk
- Broth & Soups
- Plain Yogurt
Having said this, it is also important to drink plenty of water whenever possible. Seniors should keep a bottle of water by their side, whether going out and by their bedside to remind themselves to hydrate.
How To Keep Moving In the Heat
It’s important to keep our bodies moving especially in old age. However, when the weather is warming up, seniors should also be mindful to exercise wisely. As mentioned earlier, older individuals have a more difficult time retaining water. So while breaking a sweat may be good, be sure to be conscious of not sweating too profusely. You may do this by:
- Taking breaks. Enjoy the scenery, but go at a steady pace.
- Choosing cooler synthetic fibers like cotton for more breathable wear
- Wearing lighter cooler clothes to reflect heat off from the body
Summer time can be a lovely season, as long as we are able to care for ourselves and loved ones. Water is the most important source of life, and we should continue to keep this in mind as we enjoy the sunshine.